The Debate Between Praising vs Disciplining Your Dog

The Debate Between Praising vs Disciplining Your Dog

When it comes to training your dog, you need only spend about one hour of your day scanning a basic Google search to see that there are two major camps when it comes to the “best” methodology for proper training techniques: Praising versus disciplining. Proper training and rewards is a very heated subject for many dog owners and trainers, so it makes it a little difficult to determine which method truly is the best for you and your fur baby. Here are a few highlights of the debate between praising vs. disciplining your dog for effective training.

Praising Your Dog in Training

The method of praising your dog actually goes by a few names. Reward training and positive reinforcement training are the two most popular terms used to describe using praise to show your dog the behavior you wish to encourage. Clicker training is a method that falls under this category.

Many proponents of the method of praising your dog feel that this is the most humane way of training your dog. You are focusing more on the outcome you want instead of the behavior you don’t want to see. It is a popular choice for a good reason since there are many examples of it working very efficiently for trainers and owners alike.

Disciplining Your Dog in Training

This method is one of the oldest methods, and many still swear by its effectiveness. The focus is to punish your dog for bad behavior, or negative reinforcement, but it rarely stops there. You then encourage positive behavior right after that by redirecting your dog, but the punishment part comes first. Proponents of this training method say that this is not only effective but quicker than rewarding with praise and treats. It is still used by many dog trainers today.

Which Method is More Effective in Training your Dog, Praise or Discipline?

How to reward your dog during training is a tough thing to tell any dog owner looking to modify the behavior of their dog. It comes down to personal preferences. While the Humane Society promotes positive reinforcement training, there are others who say that sometimes negative reinforcement is necessary for certain situations. Perhaps you may find a balance, but it all depends on your particular dog and the type of behavior you are looking to modify.

Making the decision to pick one training method over another is not an easy or quick one to make. Do your research on each one, talk to your vet about your specific problems with your dog to see if he has suggestions, and even talk to a professional trainer (or two) about your particular situation. You may discover that you get a different answer from each one, or there may be some consistency across the board. You should follow what you feel is best for both you and your beloved dog.

The method you use in training your dog is a debate that is not going to go away anytime soon. While the scales seem to be tipping in the direction of positive reinforcement through praise, there are still trainers, owners, and proponents for the disciplining method who continue to stand their ground.


Photo Credit:  istockphoto


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